Monica hated her duffer ex-husband so much that when she felt it was time to start over, she made it a hard-and-fast rule that she wouldn’t date any golfers. That would be understandable if golf was the reason their marriage tanked, but it wasn’t. Tom’s string of flagrant infidelities, his drug and drinking problems, his stalker-like behavior and his chronic unemployment probably had a lot more to do with Monica’s unhappiness than his scratch-golf game.
But the last thing anyone wants to hear just after a devastating divorce is, “We all knew it wouldn’t last. No one could ever figure out why you married the creep.” Even though I said it in the nicest possible way, Monica didn’t speak to me for weeks.
Now, she’s told all her friends that she’s ready to start dating. That’s the attitude. When you fall down, get back up. Even though she dreads the thought of dating, she’s tough and willing to put up with a lot of disappointment. But even if you say it in the nicest possible way, the last thing a woman over 40 wants to hear when she’s looking for dates is that she’s “got about as much chance of finding a man as Adam Sandler has of winning an Oscar.”
Monica and I don’t speak much any more, but Sue tells me that when her friends try to fix her up with a wonderful guy, a sweet guy, a good-looking guy, a decent, cheerful guy, Monica always shuts them down with, “Does he play golf?”
“I think he does,” Sue says, trying to gloss it over. “Maybe twice a year. But he spends most of his spare time as a big brother, working in soup kitchens and mowing his elderly parents lawn.”
“Sounds like a golf-playing jerk to me,” Monica spit.
Last week, Sue and Anita took Monica to lunch to give it another try. “Joe’s brother, Al, the one who just won the award for raising all that money for Katrina victims, the one who spent all that time in the Peace Corps? Well, he just got back it town after spending six weeks in an ashram in Bhutan,” Sue started.
“You mean Al Tompkins? The guy who was named Handsomest Athlete of the Year at Smarty Pants College?” Anita chipped in as planned.
“Yeah, that’s the guy. Wasn’t he Valedictorian, too?” Sue and Anita were rolling, now.
“No, he couldn’t deliver his speech that day because he was donating a kidney to a homeless felon.”
“That’s right. He wanted to donate both kidneys, but the doctors wouldn’t let him. And the funny thing is that you’d expect him to be a bit of a snob, coming from such a rich family and all, but he’s really a down-to-earth guy. To bad he’s never found anyone that pushes all his buttons.” They paused to take long pulls on their strawberry daiquiris, waiting for Monica to ask when she could meet him.
“Does he play golf?”
“No, he doesn’t. Just that charity tournament his business sponsors to raise money for unemployed, starving puppies,” Sue explained.
“And you expect me to go out with this creep?”
“Maybe it’s a little too soon for you to start dating again,” Anita suggested, which was the last thing Monica wanted to hear.
“You’re all on his side, I can tell,” she said as she stomped out of the restaurant. The next day she apologized.
Tonight, Sue and Monica and I are having dinner with our friend Carl who follows rock bands around the country selling their T-shirts and CDs. Even though she might not want to hear it, I said, “I like Carl, but I think you should know that years ago he did time in a country-club prison for tax evasion.”
“But you’re sure he doesn’t golf?”
“I’m dying to meet him.”
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.